Bing Ads recently announced that they will now be known as Microsoft Advertising. Bing officials reported that the rebranding will reflect a larger focus on ad inventory, data and targeting capabilities through their Microsoft Audience Network.
“These days, marketers have more power than ever to identify and reach customers. With data, AI and automation at your fingertips, it’s no longer just reaching more people that matters to growing your brand. It’s about making each connection feel one-to-one, at just the right time and place. More meaningful, more timely, and more valuable — this is how we see advertising evolving,” Rick van de Kooi, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Advertising, said. “We’re evolving, too. We’re changing our name from Bing Ads to Microsoft Advertising.”
What does this change mean for advertisers? Microsoft Advertising says the transition between names will be a simple one since most of their clients and partners already recognize them as Microsoft. The team at Microsoft Advertising says clients and partners can anticipate new features within the Microsoft Audience Network, a targeting option that was launched last year. The Microsoft Audience Network uses AI, rich audience intent, and profile understanding to help marketers reach consumers in brand-safe environments.
“We have deployed product enhancements, including viewable impressions, image upload and management tool updates to make managing images even easier. And second, we’re expanding audience campaigns to the UK and Canada later this summer,” Kooi said.
The rebranding announcement also brings a Sponsored Products option to advertisers. The Sponsored Products tool will allow marketers to increase visibility and drive more traffic to their top performing products within their shopping campaigns. Kooi reports that this new capability will help align marketing efforts between retailers and manufacturers, which will ultimately result in a stronger connection with shoppers. Sponsored Products is currently only available in beta in the U.S.
“We believe in empowering every marketer on the planet to achieve more, and our success is realized in what our partners accomplish. The Bing Ads name change to Microsoft Advertising is a reinforcement of this commitment,” Kooi said.
When was the last time you reviewed the keywords you are using to target traffic and referrals to your company’s website? Do you even know how to find the best keywords for your online ads? Keyword management plays an essential role in creating and optimizing an accurate data base for your company’s Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. This type of campaign management has various approaches and elements that need to be considered routinely to ensure you are getting the most out of your advertising budget each month.
“Keyword management is such an all-encompassing term, it’s no surprise that there are so many questions about the practice,” Dan Grossman, Senior PPC Account Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said. “Between auditing your current keyword portfolio, analyzing search queries for new keywords, and keeping negative keyword lists updated, clients can get overwhelmed at the thought of beginning this process.”
So what exactly are keywords? Keywords are specific words or phrases that users input into a search engine to find information or a specific product they are looking for. To ensure you are spending your advertising budget wisely, you need to be sure you are bidding on the correct keywords and grouping them accordingly.
“It’s easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed with this important work which is where we step up to the challenge to ensure your PPC accounts are running efficiently,” Grossman said.
Making sure your company’s keywords are correctly managed as they grow and become more granular has a number of benefits for your company’s ROI. Having your company’s PPC campaigns managed by a professional can help move your advertising efforts toward a high Quality Score. What exactly does that mean? A high Quality Score is a Google rating that focuses on the overall quality and relevance of your keywords within your company’s PPC ads. If your ads are proving to meet the needs of users, a high Quality Score is rewarded with a lower minimum bid for the keywords that best represent your business.
This score is just one aspect used to determine what your cost per click (CPC) would be for your ad rank during the auction process. Having a high Quality Score on your campaign will also have a direct impact on your company’s cost per conversion, the cost your company pays when a user takes action on your website such as filling out a contact form or making a purchase. Simply, the higher your overall Quality Score, the lower your cost per conversion will be.
“More than a ‘do it once and forget it’ notion, keyword management is a constantly evolving process that grows with your business. Here at Intertwine, we try to communicate all of these processes directly with the client and help them understand the importance of ongoing account management,” Grossman said.
Contact our PPC team today to learn more about keyword management and what it can do for your business!
Soon after 2016 began, it quickly became a year of big announcements for the online advertising industry. Between the launch of Penguin 4.0 and the removal of right side desktop ads, industry experts have had a full year of navigating adjustments. These adjustments will bring a very busy and new way of structuring business campaigns in 2017. With the New Year upon us, here is a quick look at some of the biggest updates, launches and affects 2016 had for PPC and SEO experts.
1. Google Stops Showing Ads on Right Side of Desktop Search Results
Google made a huge change in 2016 when they announced that they would no longer be showing AdWords ads on the right side of the desktop search results. Since that announcement, Google ads only appear at the top and bottom of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Officials at Google said this change came after deciding that the right side ads on the desktop search were “less useful.” Google said another reason they made this change was to keep the user experience consistent across all devices and to have a better understanding as to how users engage with campaigns.
2. Expanded Text Ads Went Live
Soon after Google did away with the right side ads in desktop search results, expanded text ads became a hot topic of conversation. By giving advertisers more room to work with, it has allowed agencies to revamp their creative strategies and become more granular with messaging and their overall campaign goals. Soon after Google’s announcement about ETAs, Bing announced that they would also support the new text ad format. Both search engines giants have encouraged advertisers to rethink their overall creative instead of just adding to their existing content.
3. Google Accelerated Mobile Pages Launched
Another huge adjustment also surfaced in February when the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project launched. This launch promised to enhance user’s overall mobile experience, and so far as delivered! The AMP format has since helped eliminate slow loading searches and has helped users identify AMP friendly websites on their mobile devices. Since the launch of this project, Google has recognized which websites have implemented the new HTML format with a boost in search rankings.
4. AdWords Schedules a Redesign
Google announced early in 2016 that AdWords would be getting a redesign from “the ground-up.” This facelift will review how everything from bidding, measurement, navigation and overall workflow is managed. Google’s goal for the redesign is to give marketers a better way of connecting the digital world to the physical world. With Google testing still underway, advertisers can hope to hear more about this new interface sometime in 2017.
5. Individual Device Bidding Became Available
Google announced that they would be bringing back individual device bidding. This announcement was well received by the industry since it would give advertisers more control over device-level bidding within AdWords. This adjustment has since allowed advertisers to anchor their base keyword bid to the device most useful to their business and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices. Since the announcement, advertisers have also been able to have a wider range to adjust their bids.
6. Penguin 4.0 Launched, Becomes Part of Google’s Core Algorithm
This update came after many months of speculation as to when the update would actually go live. The original Penguin algorithm initially launched in April 2012, and was established to catch websites that were displaying spam-related behavior within search results. The original launch of Penguin affected webmasters who were buying links or gaining them through link network systems in order to strengthen their backlink profile. After the 4.0 release, Penguin now operates in real-time and is page specific. By operating in real-time, webmasters who were previously penalized for bad links or other faults within their website can see the benefits of the adjustments they made a lot sooner. By being page specific, rather than affecting an entire website’s ranking, this update allowed Penguin to devalue spam on specific pages.
7. Google Launches Mobile-Friendly Update
In spring 2016, Google rolled out a second version of the mobile-friendly algorithm. This algorithm gave an additional ranking boost to websites that were recognized as mobile-friendly in search results. Google assured users that if their website was already mobile-friendly, they would not be affected by this page-by-page signal. The great thing about this mobile update is that it is never too late to benefit from since it is conducted in real-time. Be sure to review Google’s mobile guidelines if you are looking to make your website mobile friendly in 2017.
8. Search Quality Rating Guidelines Gets Updated
In March, Google announced that they would be updating the search quality rating guidelines, reducing the document from 160 to 146 pages. The biggest changes that came with this revision included an emphasis on local which was renamed “Visit-in-Person.” An emphasis was also placed on the role of Your Money Your Life and Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (E-A-T). A de-emphasis was made on supplementary content. It was also stressed that mobile is still very important. Examples were provided in the updated version of the document. You can review the recently updated guidelines through this PDF.
9. AdWords URLs Get Upgraded
In 2016, Google announced that destination URLs within AdWords would no longer be able to be used, edited or created. Since the upgrade launched, advertisers can now enter the landing page portion of the URL and their tracking information separately. Advertisers can also specify URL options at the account, campaign, ad group, ad, keyword, auto target, and sitelink level without stopping the ad or resetting their ad stats. Google released a URL upgrade guide to help advertisers ease into the transition.
10. Introduction of Google Premier Partners Status
In June 2016, Google not only launched new partner badges, but they also launched Google Premier Partner status. Intertwine Interactive is proud to be recognized as a Google Premier Partner! In order for an agency to be considered a Google Premier Partner, the agency must demonstrate a high level of expertise with AdWords and more importantly deliver agency and client growth. Intertwine has been a Google Partner since 2011, but approximately only 3% of Google Partners were promoted to premier status.
As part of the expansion of the Bing Partner Program, Microsoft recently named Intertwine Interactive as one of a group of key partners to act as trusted advisers to their growing customer base for search advertising opportunities with the Bing Network.
As a Select Partner to Bing Ads, the world’s number two search advertising provider, Intertwine will continue to enhance the expertise and service provided to clients through exclusive access to training, marketing and technology development.
“This honor further solidifies our position in the industry as a trusted paid search company,” Jake Renter, Director of PPC at Intertwine Interactive, said. “We are customer-focused and look forward to expanding our search advertising offering with Bing ads as it continues to grow globally.”
Google recently announced at the Performance Summit on May 24th that they “redesigned AdWords from the ground-up” and reconsidered how everything from bidding, measurement and overall workflow functioned. The redesign will allow marketers to have a better way of connecting the digital world and physical world. This shift is especially important since the mobile-friendly marketing era and the role our smartphones play in our daily lives is only increasing.
“With location-related mobile searches growing 50% faster than all mobile searches, it’s clear that consumers are moving seamlessly between online and offline experiences. So it’s important to help marketers think this way too,” according to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Google Ads and Commerce, in a Google Inside AdWords blog post.
One of the biggest changes marketers will see in the redesigned AdWords is the new expanded text ads. This adjustment will give marketers overall more space and give them the opportunity to display more information about a particular product or service before the consumer even clicks the ad.
“I am incredibly excited for these new changes Google announced,” Dan Grossman, a PPC Account Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said. “The extended headlines and description lines are going to be a major wake up for advertisers and agencies to totally revamp their creative. Since we have more room to work with, our messaging can get incredibly granular based on the goals we have for the client.”
Another adjustment Google is getting ready to make revolves around how marketers handle the bidding process.
“In the next few months, you’ll be able to set individual bid adjustments for each device type — mobile, desktop and tablet,” according to Ramaswamy.
Being able to set these individual bid adjustments will allow marketers to anchor the base keyword bid to a particular device that is proving to be the most valuable, as well as setting bid adjustments for other devices. This adjustment will allow for more flexibility for marketers to optimize specific devices.
Another way Google is trying to connect the digital world to the physical world is through promoted pins in Google Maps. These promoted pins will allow for a more customized experience for consumers when they are searching for a local product or service.
“We’re currently developing and experimenting with a variety of ad formats on Maps that make it easier for users to find businesses as they navigate the world around them,” said Ramaswamy. “For example, Maps users may start to see promoted pins for nearby coffee shops, gas stations or lunch spots along their driving route.”
These local business pages will also be able to display product inventory and special offers to interested consumers to draw them in to a particular location.
Out of all the recent adjustments to AdWords, Grossman says he is the most excited for the A/B testing.
“Trying out longer call to actions or being able to show a full product title in the description line could do wonders for click through and conversion rates, but we won’t know until actually testing it out,” Grossman said.
With all of the recent advancements in our mobile-friendly marketing era, and with new tools being created every day, it is important to make sure your businesses is benefiting from the advancements. In order to stay competitive, ensure that you are building your website, ads and setting your overall business goals to meet the expectations of the fast-paced consumers who want information and want it now.
Not sure where to start? Contact the Intertwine Interactive PPC team today!
Did you miss the live stream of the Google Performance Summit? Check out this video to learn more about the recent changes to Google Ads and Analytics.
Over the years, Google has been testing ad placement and location extensions within Google Maps, and they are not planning on quitting any time soon, especially since we are living in an age where no one is usually more than 10 feet from their mobile device.
During Google’s Performance Summit on May 24, it was announced that Google is testing the “next generation of local search ads” within the Google Maps app and the mobile web. This shift is said to bring a more “branded and customized experience” for marketers who are using Google Maps to promote their business.
Google is currently testing “promoted pins” or “promoted locations” within the popular map app. Users will now be able to see branded pins along their inputted route or within a close proximity of their final destination. This type of promotion is going to sound familiar to those who use Mapquest frequently since they have been using this type of promoted location finder for a few years already.
This new ad format will also allow for more customization for marketers. Businesses will be able to upload a variety of content, depending on the service they provide. A great example of this new feature is if retailers have an inventory feed going to Google, they will be able to include local product inventory within the app. Markers are also able to promote discounts and special offers to encourage users to visit a particular location.
These new features within Google Maps are being tested in the hopes that it increases foot traffic and conversations. Google stated that ever since they launched the Store Visits metric within Adwords back in December 2014, the company has “measured over 1 billion store visits globally” since its initial launch. As of now, the Store Visits metric has continued to be only available to large retailers and brands, but Google stated that they would like to make this data available to smaller businesses over time. Overall, it is a huge interest of Google’s to be able to provide more online-to-offline metrics to marketers of every size.
Markers who are interested in testing out this new map feature will need to use location extensions in order for the promoted pins to show up properly. However, Google made it clear that this new feature is still being tested, so it is very likely that marketers will still see a shift in its format over the next few months.